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Water in a Whale

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Pianist and singer/songwriter Jillette Johnson's debut full-length album, 2013's Water in a Whale, is an impressive, ambitious album that showcases Johnson's talent for classical-influenced piano, as well as lyrics that are at once intimately poetic and universally relatable. Johnson fits into the long tradition of piano-playing female pop artists, from Carole King to Tori Amos to Vanessa Carlton to Regina Spektor. Much like those artists, Johnson has a knack for balancing her more personal, almost diary-like songwriting inclinations with a radio-ready sense of pop composition. In that sense, her mix of arty yet melodic pop also brings to mind such icons as Kate Bush and ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Pianist and singer/songwriter Jillette Johnson's debut full-length album, 2013's Water in a Whale, is an impressive, ambitious album that showcases Johnson's talent for classical-influenced piano, as well as lyrics that are at once intimately poetic and universally relatable. Johnson fits into the long tradition of piano-playing female pop artists, from Carole King to Tori Amos to Vanessa Carlton to Regina Spektor. Much like those artists, Johnson has a knack for balancing her more personal, almost diary-like songwriting inclinations with a radio-ready sense of pop composition. In that sense, her mix of arty yet melodic pop also brings to mind such icons as Kate Bush and Laura Nyro, and while there is certainly a sophistication and girlishness to some of these songs, there is also a bold cockiness expressed here. Jillette, a New York City girl, is no innocent flower; she's a fighter who, as she sings on the leadoff "Torpedo," knows "how to take a right hook," "put a shot back," and "fake a hard look." This fiery attitude also helps Jillette get away with several florid, grand character-driven epics in tunes like "When the Ship Goes Down" and "Pauvre Coeur," which could come off as melodramatic overkill were it not for the fact that Jillette utterly commits to each line. It also doesn't hurt that she has a hugely resonant voice to match the big personalities she inhabits in each song. Part of Jillette's power comes from her ability to utterly lay bare her personal demons and failings in ways only the most confident women can. In "Peter Pan," she reveals that she's the last of her friends to give up the debauched freedoms of youth, like getting drunk on Tuesday nights and smoking pot. Similarly, she admits to several lust-driven, possibly abusive relationships with "Last Bus Out" and the utterly supplicating "Basset Hound," in which she shivers the lines "I wanna follow you around/Like a dog" and "While you play your games/I'll be at your gate, baby." While Jillette is certainly willing to own up to her personal failings, she is never the victim in these songs, but always the soldier with a sense of gallows humor, whose wounds make her stronger as they heal. As she sings on "True North," "Got to admit there's something funny in the fall to ruin" and "When the road ends and spits you out/You'll call your friends and wipe your nose/You'll find true north and stumble home." Ultimately, on Water in a Whale, Jillette may admit to her stumbles, but creatively she never falls.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2013
  • Label: Wind-Up
  • UPC: 601501332920
  • Catalog Number: 13329
  • Sales rank: 19,803

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jillette Johnson Primary Artist, Piano, Background Vocals
Shawn Pelton Drums
Claire Fisher Violin
Peter Zizzo Dulcimer, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Percussion, Drums, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Tres, Musician
Katie Weissman Cello
Dave Eggar Cello
Gunnar Olsen Drums
Mats Wester Nyckelharpa
Michael Mangini Background Vocals
Richard Wouters Drums
Lenny Skolnik Vocoder
Prince Villiam Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Guitar Effects
Technical Credits
Rob Mounsey Horn Arrangements
Chris Gehringer Mastering
Rob Mathes String Arrangements, String Conductor
Howie Beno Engineer
Peter Zizzo Programming, Producer, Engineer, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements, drum programming, rhythm arrangement, Horn Programming, Management, Effects Programming
Ryan Smith Mastering
Gregg Wattenberg Producer
Chris Shaw Engineer
Ross Peterson Engineer
Michelle Lukianovich Art Direction
Dave Roberge Management
John Alicastro Engineer
Jordan Burger Booking
Justin Rose Engineer
Michael Mangini Programming, Producer, Engineer, rhythm arrangement, Horn Programming, Management
Richie English Composer
Jillette Johnson Composer
Prince Villiam Programming, Sound Effects, String Arrangements, Vocal Effect
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    There is not a single song on this album that i don't like. ever

    There is not a single song on this album that i don't like. every song is catchy, every song is filled with emotion and beautiful melodic structure. the musicianship behind it is intricate and complex in a way that only seasoned musicians can muster. Her vocals are beyond amazing, and there are times when i sit and wonder, 'how did she do that?' all in all, i have enjoyed this album from start to finish. i've listened to it every single day for almost a month and i havent gotten bored yet.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews